Do you ever look at a series and promise yourself that you will read it…eventually? Well that’s how how Francesca and I (Suzanne) have been feeling about the In Death series by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts). It’s been on both of our TBRs for so long and yet remained relatively untouched. The problem with much loved series like In Death is that it’s got a lot of hype. So many people love the books and all the characters. It’s a little daunting to take on the weight of that expectation. Also there’s the length! Have you seen how many books are in the series? It’s on book 48. That’s a lot of books to get through.
But, we aren’t going to try and get through all 48 books this year. Instead we are taking it slow and aim to read one book a month, getting us to book 12 by December. We will update you on our progress on social media as we read, in our wrap up videos at the end of the month and in a monthly post articulating our thoughts on the book.
We are starting, of course, right at the beginning with Naked in Death the first in the series.
by J.D. Robb
Released: July 1st 1995
Series: In Death #1
Published by Berkley
THE FIRST NOVEL IN THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING IN DEATH SERIES
It is 2058, New York City. Technology now completely rules the world, but for New York Detective Eve Dallas, one irresistible impulse still rules the heart: passion…
Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all—and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire—and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about—except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.
What did you think of the first book, was it a good introduction to the series?
Suzanne: It was a great introduction to the series. Robb introduced the characters and slightly futuristic world really well. She didn’t bog the book down with too many details and instead just dove straight in with the story and fleshing out her characters. It also didn’t feel too dated. I don’t know if this was because of the future setting or just the genius of J.D. Robb. So, although some of the technological details felt like they were the imaginations of a mind in the 90s, the more important aspects like character and story didn’t. It left me intrigued, addicted to the characters and desperate for more making it an excellent first book.
Francesca: This was a great introduction to the series. Obviously this is a beloved series by many and I’ve read all the hype before but I still had conservative expectations. A lot of that has to do with how old the series is. This book was originally published in 1995 and I’ve gone and read some 90s romances in the past few years that have left me with a lackluster feeling about them. NAKED IN DEATH doesn’t suffer from 90s writing syndrome. I can see how it was daring and unique in that era because the writing didn’t feel dated to me. It actually still felt like writing that could stand out today. Aside from a few technology bits that could tell you the book was written in the 90s, there was nothing else that gave that feeling to me. This was one of the biggest things I took away from it. So my expectations were exceeded!
The mystery aspect of the book, did it keep you hooked?
Suzanne: It did! I think Francesca guessed early on who the culprit was. I, however, didn’t catch on until towards the end. The thriller/mystery aspect of this book was fantastic. It was seedy, dark and ugly and drew the reader in to a corrupt world of politics and much much worse.
Francesca: The mystery development was interesting but I have to admit like Suzanne said that I had pegged the murderer really early on. There was one twist to the reveal in the end that I saw coming maybe half way through. So did it surprise me? No. But it still kept me interested to what was happening and how it unfolded even if there was no big shock for me.
Now to the big question…Eve and Roarke, thoughts and feelings!
Suzanne: This is actually a reread for me, I read it agggges ago, way back in 2013. When I look at my review I said: “Our heroine, the dedicated police detective with a tortured past and a drive to kick some bad guy ass. Okay, not exactly original but that didn’t stop me from liking and rooting for her. She may sound a bit like a cliche but J.D. Robb managed to inject enough humanity and personality into her so you didn’t feel like you were just reading about the cookie cutter female detective.” I stand by that. Eve was a great heroine. She was intelligent and tough but clearly had a well of compassion and empathy.
As for Roarke I said: “That’s right, no second (or maybe first?) name. Just Roarke. That alone gives you a taste of the kind of man he is, arrogant, self assured, hot as hell. He may start off as a suspect in Eve’s investigation but he pretty soon becomes the reason I am reading the book. Again, J.D. Robb could have made him the typical hot and mysterious bad boy, and although he has those elements she made him stand out from the crowd. I also loved his driving need for Eve, it was almost like a PNR where a shifter finds his mate, he just knew that Eve was in some way his. Hot.” My feelings haven’t changed. Roarke was a great character, intense and mysterious Robb reveals just enough about him to make him that bit more interesting.
Francesca: Ohhhhh man!! I fully admit that I wasn’t expecting to fall so hard for Eve and Roarke. And yes I mean both. While I am totally in for the love and romance here, I actually love these two separately just as much. I foresee that they’ll end up being my favorite heroine and favorite hero of the year unless someone else writes something that blows me away. There’s something to admire about both of them and they are so different but so compatible at the same time. I can’t wait to read more.
Did you do audiobook, ebook or book?
Suzanne: I went ebook. As always. There were a few quotes I loved and highlighted, something I wouldn’t have been able to do in a paperback or audiobook. Also, for once, I love the UK cover waaay more than the US one.
Francesca: I’ve been collecting this series on audio for YEARS so I’ll be doing audio all the way. I am a big fan of the narration on this first one. I do miss the fact that I don’t get to highlight quotes. I know you can mark parts on audio but I never actually do that. But I’m all in for this on audio, it’s a great series to listen to.
How would you rate Naked in Death?
Suzanne: 4 Stars and a recommended read. Why not 5 stars? I do like Robb’s writing although sometimes her turn of phrase does sound odd to me. But I am not a fan of how she jumps from one characters POV to another without warning. It can change from one paragraph to another. It makes it a bit of a choppy ride at times.
Francesca: I’m somewhere in between 4 and 4.5 Stars but I think I’ll lean on 4.5 just because it exceeded my expectations.
How are you feeling about starting the next book in the series Glory in Death?
Suzanne: Excited! I really enjoyed this book and I am dying to get to the next.
Francesca: I cannot wait! Maybe I won’t even be able to hold on and just read one a month, that’s how obsessed I think I’ll become.
Have you read Naked in Death?
Feel free to join us in our year long series read-along!
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